Tamil Nadu

Man stabbed to death in Ooty town, possibly due to social distancing quarrel

Police at the crime scene in Udhagamandalam

Police at the crime scene in Udhagamandalam   | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

The victim is said to have asked the perpetrator to stand a safe distance away, as a measure to to prevent the spread of COVID-19, at a tea shop

A 35-year-old man died after he was stabbed with a knife by a 23-year-old man, allegedly in a quarrel over ensuring social distancing to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Police officials identified the deceased as R. Jothimani, 35, a resident of Nondimedu in Udhagamandalam. They said Jothimani, who is married and has two children, worked at the Ooty Municipal Market loading and unload vegetables from vegetable trucks.

On Tuesday afternoon, he had come to have tea at a tea stall located just behind the market complex. People who were at the tea stall when the incident occurred, including the owner of the store, said that Jothimani was eating some snacks at the stall when the accused, identified as N. Devdas, 23, a resident of Palakkad, came to the shop.

They said that Jothimani asked Devdas to stand at a safe distance away from him as he was fearful of the spread of COVID-19, leading to a quarrel between the two men. In the resulting quarrel, Jothimani allegedly tried to slap Devdas, leading to the accused picking up a knife that had been kept at the shop and stabbing Jothimani with it.

Jothimani died on the spot and the entire incident happened along a busy public road in the heart of Udhagamandalam town, leading to huge crowds congregating around the tea stall where the incident occurred.

Police rushed to the spot and managed to apprehend Devdas. A case of murder has been registered.

Nilgiris district superintendent of police, V. Sasi Mohan, said that the quarrel had arisen between the two men resulting in the murder, but said that it was unclear whether a dispute over ensuring social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 had resulted in the murder.

“Preliminary inquiries indicate that Jothimani had taken offence to Devdas standing too close to him at the tea shop resulting in the quarrel, which then led to a fight and the resulting murder,” said Mr. Sasi Mohan.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:14:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/man-stabbed-to-death-in-ooty-town-possibly-due-to-social-distancing-quarrel/article31153598.ece

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